Japan is a tech savvy country. It is the first place we have traveled where we really felt the need to have internet access through our phones. Usually we are happy with Wifi at our accommodation, however getting current, correct, up to date information was so important in helping us navigate our way around.
We also found that Japan was the first country we had been to that had country specific apps and even more so, country specific apps that actually came in handy. There were 2 apps specific to Japan that we used, and 4 other more generalized apps that came in really handy as well saving our asses a couple of times!
1. Japan Travel by Navitime
This app is 100% a must have if you’re using the Japan train network. It makes train travel so incredibly easy! Pop in your route and time (select the rail pass box if you have one), pick which option you’d like to take, then up pops all the information you need to know. It even tells you what platform you need and which carriage to get on!
2. Google maps
I think this is a given in any country! Getting lost is part of the fun of travelling, however it’s not as fun when you’re on a deadline or trying to get to a very specific place. Plus, being Japan all the signs are in Japanese which doesn’t help unless you can read it! We mostly used google maps when we hired a car to make sure we got where we needed to go.
3. XE Currency
When we were in Japan the Aussie dollar was at an odd exchange rate, and by odd I mean one where the maths wasn’t easy to work out in your head! The XE Currency app has the current exchange rate for all currencies and is super easy to use – just select the two currencies you want to convert in the correct order, pop in the price and bam! Easy as that.
4. Google Translate
Google Translate has always been great in helping you decipher things online in a different language, however the app now has a fantastic feature that we used daily in Japan. You can now hover your camera over writing whilst in the app and it will live translate the text for you. For a more accurate translation, take a photo in the app instead and it will translate it will grammar taken into account. Makes avoiding unpleasant menu items and deciphering street signs so much easier!
We booked all of our accommodation bar one through Airbnb which is why this app was so important for us to have. There is an app for most booking agents so just download the one most relevant for you! Having the Airbnb app mean’t we could message our hosts easily and access the address and map out how to get to each new apartment – it saved us a lot of possible stress!
6. Guru Navi
Sadly we didn’t actually find out about this app until after we got home. I say sadly because it looks so helpful and it would have saved us so many tense discussions on where to eat! We love exploring and finding cool places to eat, however in Japan finding restaurants within our budget was hard at times. If we had used this app, we would have been able to see exactly where the cheap restaurants were! We’ve downloaded this for our next trip to Japan and we recommend you do the same to save yourself the stress!
Of course we still used other travel apps like Tripadvisor and those found in my previous post on must have apps for travelling (click here for the direct link), however we just used the ones above more than others!
What apps have you found useful on your travels? If you have any suggestions for additions to this list please let us know in the comments below!
Happy travels 😊